This morning, guests awoke to pristine conditions for our crossing of the Bonaparte Gulf. Those inclined watched the sunrise from the bow, and the glassy seas provided excellent opportunities for spotting wildlife. Dolphins, turtles, and jellyfish were all observed before breakfast was enjoyed in the outdoor café. Guests were introduced to the staff hosting their Kimberley adventure. Naturalist Martin Cohen delivered his presentation, “The Magnificent Kimberley,” which gave guests insight into what to expect in the upcoming days. After lunch, guests eagerly prepared for their first excursion to King George River. The trip offered exceptional, postcard-perfect views of Kimberley as we navigated down the meandering river between dramatic red sandstone cliffs. These cliffs loomed some eighty meters tall and were artistically hollowed out by tafoni weathering over their years of existence. As we approached the largest of the twin cascades, guests took turns positioning themselves on the bow of the Zodiac to receive a famous Kimberley shower. The water was cool and refreshing, and guests dried very quickly thanks to the warm sun and the wind from Zodiac travel. As we returned to ship, a stop was made at a particular sea grass meadow in hopes of spotting the elusive dugong. Luck was on our side, and we spotted two dugongs before returning to National Geographic Orion. Guests enjoyed Captain Alex’s welcome speech as they sipped on cocktails before another fantastic dinner.
National Geographic Orion
Gidday and welcome to a unique part of the world, the west coast of Australia. After leaving Perth, National Geographic Orion set a course towards a remote set of islands on the offshore of Australia called the Rowley Shoals. Sunrise was a welcome phenomenon as we made our way towards our destination. We progressed through our normal routine of introducing the expedition staff to guests, in addition to Zodiac and snorkel briefings. Snorkel gear was distributed, and guests buzzed with anticipation as they prepared for the adventure ahead. After lunch, Zodiacs full of guests were sent off into the lagoon of the Australian atoll along Mermaid Reef. The water was chilly, but the environment was epic with vibrant corals, numerous species of fish, and calming sunshine. As a Polynesian person, I could have sworn I was in French Polynesia or the Cook Islands…but then I’m biased. All in all, it was a great first day for our happy guests that was topped off with a joyous Captain’s Welcome cocktail party hosted by Captain Alex. Cheers!